study advisor

What does a Study Advisor do?

Sometimes you see professional titles at universities but can hardly imagine what that person might actually do. That is why we asked some colleagues at IUBH University of Applied Sciences to describe exactly what their job involves.


What is your job title?

I am Senior Study Advisor for the tourism industry programme at IUBH Dual Studies in Düsseldorf.

What exactly does your job at the university entail?

The term Study Advisor encompasses a wide scope of responsibilities, and involves dealing with new undertakings and experiences on a daily basis. I introduce the concept of IUBH Dual Studies to young people who are interested in studying at IUBH, and describe the opportunities we offer. The goal of course, is also to win them over for IUBH.

After receiving an application, we then focus on becoming better acquainted with the prospective student. This is an exciting part of my work, because it is when we gather first impressions of each other. Questions such as “What do you want?” and “What do you not want?” are only two of the basic questions we clarify. Getting to know the applicant’s personality is important for me because at this point I begin the process of finding a suitable company for the practical work component of the dual studies programme. The placement of an applicant in a company from our network of partner companies – and beyond – is an important part of my job. This requires a lot of empathy and an ability to judge character. The ultimate goal is success for all involved. After the placement, the highlight of my study advisory work happens: the signing of the contract between the partner company and the future student. This is an important turning point in starting the degree programme.

A study advisor not only helps before the programme begins, but also remains as contact person for the young students throughout their programme and after graduation. My tasks include assisting students during the three and a half year duration of their degree programme at IUBH. With support, an open ear and trust I develop close relationships with many students while they are studying, which in turn helps them overcome problems that might arise and leads to shared experiences of achievement.

How do you become a study advisor?

Many study advisors come from the field of human resources and education or from the industry for which they later work as an advisor. I did a classic training programme in tourism and worked in the industry for many years. Later I started teaching about tourism at different schools and quickly realised that I enjoy working with young people. In 2008, I started as a study advisor in higher education and have worked at IUBH Dual Studies Düsseldorf since the summer of 2011. I have been on board at IUBH for seven years!

What do you like most about your work?

What I really like about my work is that I support young people during an important phase in their lives. I counsel applicants, and together we look for a partner company and experience all the ups and downs of the three and a half year programme. When the students then throw their hats up into the air at the graduation ceremony, I feel incredibly proud – every time – and know that all the effort was worth it. So, it is the trust behind the contact and communication with all the students – even outside of the study programme – that I most like and appreciate about my job.

What is a challenge for you?

In my job, it is always a challenge to find and match the right applicant with the right company. There are always different expectations from both sides and a lot of individuality.


Falco Birkheuer is 43 years old. He has been working as a study advisor at IUBH since 2011. In his free time, he likes motorcycling, photography, traveling and dancing. He also has a special passion for the Eurovision Song Contest.

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